Musselburgh - Mall Park

Mall Avenue : EH21 7BL Musselburgh - Mall Park : Map credit National Library of Scotland
Musselburgh track racing venues - bicycle track racing in Musselburgh started in 1889 at the Newfield football ground. In 1896, Pinkie House Park saw bicycle racing and annual sports meetings were held there. When the Mall Park track opened in 1902, it was a very popular, but short lived, home for bicycle racing. The only bicycle race venue to survive in Musselburgh was Pinkie House Park, which held annual races until 1922.

John Newlands owned Mall Park and George Newlands ran a public house there. The Park field was fenced off and rented to Musselburgh Fern football club in 1897.

The first bicycle racing at the Park was on the evenings of July 21st and 22nd 1902, at sports evenings organised by Musselburgh and Fisherrow Trades' Band. Amongst the athletic sports, there was a two miles bicycle handicap race each evening, with up to six heats and a final. Mr R Baxter, the local cycle agent (28 Bridge Street), was the organiser and handicapper.

A further cycle race meeting was advertised in the Edinburgh Evening News for September 5th 1903, at which the two open events were a one and two miles handicap races for prizes of 30, 15 and 5 shillings for first second and third. Entries were taken at the event.

There was a bicycle race at the St AOAFG games on July 9th 1904. No bicycle racing was included at the next year's games.

The Musselburgh Cycling Club held their annual race meeting at the Park on August 20th 1904, with four open events and one club race. The Musselburgh Fern FC held a gala on July 18th 1905 with a "Cycle race confined to those taking part in the Local Parade." First prize was a "Handsome Cup". The Mall Park sports were held on July 21st and 28th 1905 with bicycle races organised by Mr R Baxter. The five miles race was for the ‘Baxter Cup' and there were also one and two miles handicap races. There were several other bicycle race meetings at the Park in 1905, which was probably the last year that bicycle racing took place at Mall Park.

The Edinburgh Evening News of November 6th 1906 reported that "James Baxter, trading as R Baxter, cycle and motor car agents, Musselburgh, was examined in bankruptcy in Edinburgh Sheriff Court". Mr Baxter was heavily involved in promoting bicycle racing at the Park and his bankruptcy was probably one of the reasons why no more races were held there.

The Park was very popular up to the First World War, for football matches and dog racing, funfairs were also held there. John Newlands, the owner of the Park, died in 1915 and two years later, the ground at Mall Park was purchased by the Burgh Council.

The ground seemed to have been unused until the 1950's when it was developed for housing and mixed commercial purposes. The ground, bounded by Inveresk Road, is now derelict.


Refs     : [161] [p]
Maps    : National Library of Scotland